Historically, cars with aerodynamic designs have always managed to capture the public’s attention. The 1950s and ‘60s saw a host of manufacturers popularise this design, with one of the most striking being the Hudson Italia. Created by the Hudson Motor Company and Carrozzeria Touring, the Italia was meant to put Hudson back on the map.
In the 1950s, Hudson wanted to match the success that Chrysler had gained with cars like the Ghia. The company developed several concepts, with the Italia being at the forefront. Hudson lacked the money needed to build a new model, so they entered into a partnership with Carrozzeria Touring.
Carrozzeria developed a car that combined Italian stylishness with American power. The body, based on the Hudson Jet, was low-slung and flashy. The long bonnet and large grille gave it a distinctive appearance. The interior featured leather-and-vinyl bucket seats, radio and a wide dashboard. The 3.3-litre straight six engine produced 114 hp, giving the Italia a lot of mileage.
Public reaction and legacy
The prototype was completed in 1953 and the Italia started appearing at various shows. For example, it featured prominently at the 1954 International Sports Car Show. Public reaction was positive, though the Italia’s high price led to a lukewarm response from dealerships. Dealers were also disappointed that the Italia didn’t come with the more powerful Hornet engine. There were only around 19 firm orders.
The Italia’s positive public image contrasted with low production numbers. Despite the car gaining international recognition, only 26 were made. This may have occurred due to the merger between Hudson and the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation in 1954. The Italia became an ‘orphan car’ that was shunned by customers in favour of other models.
The Italia was characterised as Hudson’s “last gasp for an image-building smash hit.” Although it failed to save the Hudson Company, the Italia became highly sought among classic car collectors. Owners are regularly invited to distinguished car shows and the cars earn special rewards.